After the baby shower was over, I stood in the middle of my living room, staring at a new crib full of unwrapped gifts. Flooded with gratitude, I still couldn’t help but think, “Will we really use all of this? Is there anything left that I need and don’t have? What do other parents use on a regular basis?”
So off to Pinterest I went, looking for listicles from experienced moms. While no two families are the same, I found it so very helpful to read these posts and get a feel for what we’d need to have close at hand once I came home with a new human in tow!
Whether you’re pregnant yourself, or shopping for someone who is, I thought you’d be curious to know what our family actually uses on a day-to-day basis:
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Oh, the snot sucker. Nothing contorts the faces of friendly visitors quite like this monstrosity. However, nothing cleans those little nostrils like it, either!
We use this saline spray in conjunction with the NoseFrida to help loosen the junk inside her nose. It’s so convenient to be able to pop the nozzle in a nostril and be done with two quick blasts. I feel like Quick Draw McGraw when I whip this out.
Babies’ lil’ nosies get full of stuff quickly, especially in the beginning, and it gave me such peace of mind to be able to clear her nasal passages whenever she started sounding like a hot pug.
I resisted this thing for months despite my instant attraction. Our mothers and grandmothers didn’t have anything like this! What’s wrong with our arms, or a rocking chair? Oh how naive I was.
Babygirl is going through a phase right now where she will ONLY sleep with motion. How long can you rock a baby before you starve to death? I almost found out.
We received this as a generous and unexpected gift from a coworker, and now I can’t imagine living without it. This swing has 5 movement settings, 5 sound settings, and Bluetooth connectivity for your phone! We found her perfect combination: wave motion, ocean sounds, and her unicorn lovey.
I’ll never forget the first time I gave my baby a bottle of breast milk and… walked away. What a feeling. While I was pregnant, I thought I would never give my child a bottle. Silly me. Breastfeeding is beautiful, but mama has to move sometimes.
Before she could hold the bottle, hubby would give her the evening feed while I did whatever. This allowed him to bond with her in a way he felt he was missing, and it allowed me to breathe. We’ve kept it that way—one bottle a day—and it works well for us. Plus, it allows the occasional family visitor to spend quality time with her too. In those first weeks, all they ever do is eat and sleep!
As a breastfeeding mom, I adore this system by Kiinde. I got the tip from a client while I was still pregnant. What I love is that you can pump right into the freezer-safe bags and then pop the bag into the bottle whenever you need it. Easy!
Yes, I fell in love with this trendy, high-ticket item, and it was hard not to! Baby cuddles are the best, but you have to put them down at some point. You want that spot to be safe and comfortable for your little so you can both relax.
What sold me on the Dock-a-Tot was the “breathable technology” on the fabric since I was so paranoid about suffocation in those early days.
Babygirl also slept in this thing in the bed with me for the first few months. (Do your own research on the risks and benefits of bed sharing.)
We received this as a surprise gift from a generous cousin, but after using it many times a day for the first couple months, plus the peace of mind, I would definitely have bought it myself.
Before I ventured into the world of pumping, I collected my bag-of-the-day using this brilliant little device.
It’s a silicone milk-catcher that suctions onto the breast you’re not feeding on. You’d be shocked to see how much milk would be wasted into a breast pad! In those first two months, I leaked like crazy, so this thing also helped reduce the laundry. I still use it while doing the dishes.
A warning: it’s not sexy, but it’s a life-saver!
Did I mention we don’t have a nursery? Four months in and I really don’t see the point of one at this stage. No offense if you just put the finishing touches on yours (I’m sure it’s gorgeous) but new babies are so tiny and with you all the time anyway.
So, because we’re just doing a diaper change wherever we feel like, we’ve used this travel changing pad for every one. As a bonus, it fits easily in the diaper bag.
I suppose it’s the item on this list that has gotten more use than anything else. It does the trick. She will also stop crying immediately if I place her on it, because she knows a diaper change is coming, and she loves those almost as much as she loves milk.
I don’t know who gave me the tip to get a diaper bag with backpack straps, but I love this person. Hands-free is SO important with a newborn. With any born!
This one also has insulated pouches for milky storage and lots of room for all that stuff you think you need. It’s super affordable and a great everyday bag (that would also make a great weekend bag if we ever leave town again.)
After our first away-from-home blow out, I frantically packed this thing full of emergency supplies: a change of clothes for me, a change for her, a big ziplock baggie, shower gel… and it still felt like a light load. Of course, now that I’ve packed it, we’ve never needed it again. Go figure.
We live in a two-story home, don’t have a nursery, and spend most of our time downstairs, so this little diaper caddy has been invaluable.
We pack it with diapers, wipes, the changing pad, the nose stuff, and nail clippers, and then just grab it when it’s time to go to bed. I love the little light in the handle. This one gets some serious use! You can also use it as a feeding caddy if you’re more likely to move around doing that.
Now, I didn’t register for this specific caddy. I had chosen one of the cheaper ones I used to use for my hair products (before I shaved it all off) because I didn’t think it mattered. However, the one I had was flimsy and absorbed product smells, so this one was such a pleasant surprise. It’s been sturdy enough to last through constant use for the last 4 months and it’s still in great shape.
I got this one as a gift from my dear friend who is also a doula. She loved using it for her 3 kids, so she sent it to me as soon as she found out I was pregnant! Love her. She also gave me the BEST advice and support. Seriously, get yourself a doula. You’ll thank me later.
This product has made it so easy to bathe the little nugget right in the kitchen sink. I keep all my supplies within arms reach and then hold her with one hand while I wash her with the other. It dries pretty quickly if you wring it out and then we store it in the linen closet. OK, fine, we used to put it away in the closet, but now it kind of hangs out over the shower curtain rod… #parenting
Ugh, I love this thing. Thank you, bestie! Baby-wearing is the sh*t. I’m just going to come out and say it. Your little worm feels safest when he’s nuzzled up against you, and you have things to do, places to go.
It’s also my fool-proof way to get her to nap when she is fighting it. I used the Boba wrap exclusively for the first few weeks, but as she grew I needed something more structured for my back.
Using a wrap-style carrier really made me appreciate the structured one and all its features. It reminds me of when I upgraded from my Honda to a BMW and exclaimed, “they thought of everything!”
Our trip to the dog park yesterday sums it all up: I walked a mile and a half to the park with her facing outward, with no back pain. By the time we got there, she got sleepy and hot. I was able to unclip and turn her around, get her nursing incognito, unzip the ventilation flap, pull the sun shade over her, and then whip out a doggy bag—all with one hand!
(Daily walking, BTW, is how I lost all the pregnancy weight by month two.)
We actually ended up receiving two of these carriers, so we keep one adjusted to each parent to make go-time easier.
So, there you go! Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight into what a new mom might use and why. If you’re reading this because someone shared it on Facebook, it’s a hint!
If you’re on here looking for ideas for a practical baby shower gift, and you really like this person, get her this!
Everyone is going to be getting the couple some really adorable and even useful baby stuff. It’s not a traditional gift, but this is the single most helpful thing I received at my shower. In the post-baby chaos, we still woke up every morning to clean floors, which is HUGE.
It was a fraction of the price of a Roomba and does a fantastic job. It comes with a warranty, which is awesome because one time we accidentally let it run over raw meat (long story) and I was able to send it back for a complete replacement. While we waited for it to get here, I did my best sweeping the floors myself, but was not able to get it even close to as clean as this vacuum got me used to.
Get this for you or someone you love. No parent wants to sweep floors and it’s cheaper than a maid!
If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend! Tell me, what do you think is the most useful baby product you’ve received so far?